Tag Archives | Higher Education

Degrees of Difference: Gender Segregation of U.S. Doctorates by Field and Program Prestige

Kim A. Weeden, Sarah Thébaud, Dafna Gelbgiser

Sociological Science, February 6, 2017
DOI 10.15195/v4.a6

Women earn nearly half of doctoral degrees in research fields, yet doctoral education in the United States remains deeply segregated by gender. We argue that in addition to the oft-noted segregation of men and women by field of study, men and women may also be segregated across programs that differ in their prestige. Using data on all doctorates awarded in the United States from 2003 to 2014, field-specific program rankings, and field-level measures of math and verbal skills, we show that (1) “net” field segregation is very high and strongly associated with field-level math skills; (2) “net” prestige segregation is weaker than field segregation but still a nontrivial form of segregation in doctoral education; (3) women are underrepresented among graduates of the highest-and to a lesser extent, the lowest-prestige programs; and (4) the strength and pattern of prestige segregation varies substantially across fields, but little of this variation is associated with field skills.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Kim A. Weeden: Department of Sociology, Cornell University
Email: kw74@cornell.edu

Sarah Thébaud: Department of Sociology, University of California – Santa Barbara
Email: sthebaud@gmail.com

Dafna Gelbgiser: Center for the Study of Inequality, Cornell University
Email: dg432@cornell.edu

Acknowledgements: We thank Maria Charles, Tom DiPrete, Jesper Sørensen, and Ezra Zuckerman for comments on an earlier draft of this article. Dr. Gelbgiser’s postdoctoral fellowship at Cornell University’s Center for the Study of Inequality is supported by a generous grant from The Atlantic Philanthropies.

  • Citation: Weeden, Kim A., Sarah Thébaud, and Dafna Gelbgiser. 2017. “Degrees of Difference: Gender Segregation of U.S. Doctorates by Field and Program Prestige.” Sociological Science 4: 123-150.
  • Received: November 19, 2016
  • Accepted: December 2, 2016
  • Editors: Sarah Soule
  • DOI: 10.15195/v4.a6
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Gender Differences in the Formation of a Field of Study Choice Set

Sigal Alon, Thomas A. DiPrete

Sociological Science, February 18, 2015
DOI 10.15195/v2.a5

Women now surpass men in overall rates of college graduation in many industrialized countries, but sex segregation in fields of study persists. In a world where gender norms have changed but gender stereotypes remain strong, we argue that men’s and women’s attitudes and orientations toward fields of study in college are less constrained by gendered institutions than is the ranking of these fields. Accordingly, the sex segregation in the broader choice set of majors considered by college applicants may be lower than the sex segregation in their first preference field of study selection. With unique data on the broader set of fields considered by applicants to elite Israeli universities, we find support for this theory. The factors that drive the gender gap in the choice of field of study, in particular labor market earnings, risk aversion, and the sex composition of fields, are weaker in the broad set of choices than in the first choice. The result is less segregation in considered majors than in the first choice and, more broadly, different gender patterns in the decision process for the set of considered majors and for the first choice. We consider the theoretical implications of these results.
Sigal Alon: Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Tel Aviv University.  Email: salon1@post.tau.ac.il

Thomas A. DiPrete: Department of Sociology, Columbia University.    Email: tad61@columbia.edu

  • Citation: Alon, Sigal, and Thomas A. Diprete. 2015. “Gender Differences in the Formation of a Field Study Choice Set.” Sociological Science 2: 50-81.
  • Received: July 9, 2014
  • Accepted: September 16, 2014
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen,  Kim Weeden
  • DOI: 10.15195/v2.a5
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